Media language guide

Stigmatising language such as ‘user’, ‘addict’ and ‘alcoholic’ are outdated and damaging and should no longer be used to describe people who have problems with alcohol and other substances. 


Alcohol Action Ireland has launched a guide to help media and the public use more compassionate language, and to understand the impact certain words can have on people. 


Research has demonstrated that, whether we are aware of it or not, the use of certain terms generates biases that can influence the formation and effectiveness of social and public health policies to address alcohol and other drug problems.  


The use of slang and negative language in media commentary reflects the wider public’s stigmas and views associated with dependency and further harms an already vulnerable group of people. 


Research shows that using the right words has the power to improve health outcomes, reduce stigma and make people who use or have used alcohol and other drugs feel safe respected and more willing to engage with the services they need.


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